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ISBN: 9781551524252-08

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Indians of Childhood

From: The Imaginary Indian


In the world of childhood, there were two Indians. One was the Indian of campouts and woodcraft lore and wilderness adventure, presented by Ernest Thompson Seton. The other was the schoolbook Indian, a threat to the Canadian nation, an Indian to fear and to pity. Seton’s Indian had important lessons to teach children about self-reliance and living in harmony with nature, whereas the schoolbook Indian was fundamentally at odds with modern society. The Imaginary Indian of childhood was thus a Janus-like figure, its two faces looking in opposite directions to indicate the confusion non-Natives felt about its real identity. For many Canadians, this confusion remains unresolved. As adults, they continue to carry contradictory images of the Indian around in their heads.



Daniel Francis

Daniel Francis is an historian and the author/editor of more than twenty books, including five for Arsenal Pulp Press: The Imaginary Indian: The Image of the Indian in Canadian Culture , National Dreams: Myth, Memory and Canadian History, LD: Mayor Louis Taylor and the Rise of Vancouver (winner of the City of Vancouver Book Award), Seeing Reds: The Red Scare of 1918-1919, Canada's First War on Terror and Imagining Ourselves: Classics of Canadian Non-Fiction. His other books include A Road for Canada, Red Light Neon: A History of Vancouver's Sex Trade, Copying People: Photographing British Columbia First Nations 1860-1940, The Great Chase: A History of World Whaling, New Beginnings: A Social History of Canada, and the popular Encyclopedia of British Columbia. He is also a regular columnist in Geist magazine, and was shortlisted for Canada's History Pierre Berton Award in 2010. Daniel lives in North Vancouver, BC.